SPRINGFIELD -- The 4th District Appellate Court has denied a Bloomington man's appeal of his 2001 murder conviction.
In a unanimous decision issued Wednesday, the court ruled that previous denials of Jamie Snow's post-conviction motions were proper because they were not based on newly discovered evidence -- defined as evidence unavailable at trial and which could not have been discovered earlier through due diligence.
In arguments last month, attorneys for Snow argued that the lower court erred when it denied his request for a hearing on his claim of actual innocence in the 1991 death of attendant William Little in the robbery of a Bloomington gas station.
Defense lawyer Tara Thompson with the University of Chicago's Exoneration Project said the opinion is still under review but vowed to continue efforts on Snow's behalf.
"I am disappointed in the ruling because I really believe in Jamie's innocence. Appeals are a long process but we're going to fight this all the way. This case isn't going away," Thompson said Thursday.
Earlier, Thompson argued several witnesses have recanted testimony that implicated Snow in the murder.
If there were a hearing, the defense would like to call former Bloomington police officer Jeff Pelo, who is now serving 375 years in prison for sexually assaulting four women and stalking a fifth.
According to Snow's lawyers, Pelo was told by prosecutors handing the initial trial to limit his testimony about what he saw when he responded to the robbery. If he had testified fully, Pelo would have told the jury he did not see anyone leave the gas station, according to the defense.
That distinction calls into question testimony from Danny Martinez, who said he saw a man leaving the gas station about the time police arrived.
The defense misrepresented Pelo's statement, according to the appellate ruling.
"The prosecutor stated she was not asking Pelo to lie but asking him only to answer the questions she asked. Pelo further stated that, if defense counsel had asked him additional questions about what happened that night, he would have testified he did not see anyone leave the gas station," said the ruling.
The appellate court declined to consider defense arguments that Snow did not receive effective assistance from trial counsel Frank Picl. The claim regarding the lawyer -- who later pleaded guilty to theft and financial exploitation of an elderly person -- has been addressed by the appellate court, the judges said in their new opinion.
Snow is serving a life sentence.